Updates from Admiral and Hammerson
The Dow Jones finished Friday up more than 167 points at 15,761. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The major news this morning is from FTSE 100 insurer Admiral. Group vehicle count increased 3% to 3.64 million (Q3 2012: 3.55 million) while group turnover is cut 7% to £528 million (Q3 2012: £570 million). 2013 continues to shape up well claims Admiral and is on track to meet expectations for the year.
In the competitive UK car insurance market Admiral's strategy is to focus on profitability. Year-on-year market premiums are down, a situation which it believes will ultimately cause the cycle to turn.
"The current environment has led us to reduce UK turnover," says Admiral, "but encouraging trends in our claims experience and our industry-leading combined ratio means that we continue to deliver strong returns for our shareholders."
Next, an interim from retail property operator Hammerson for the three months between 1 July and 10 November. The total value of new leases signed year to date in 2013 is 82% higher than equivalent period in 2012 claims Hammerson.
Overall occupancy in the portfolio remained above target at 97.1% as at 30 September 2013 (30 June 2013: 97.4%). But tenants' sales in UK shopping centres were flat in the third quarter, with strong menswear and sports goods sales offset by weak sales of ladies fashion.
Footfall was -2.1% against the same period in the prior year. Hammerson though claims "signs of recovery in our occupational markets, particularly in the UK, and there is good demand from retailers in response to improving economic conditions."
Finally, FTSE 250-listed house builder Redrow, whose shares have more than doubled in the last two years alone. Private reservations for the financial year to date, at 1,400 homes, are up 52% on last year. Cancellation rates have reduced to 12% (2013: 17%).
Help to Buy reservations represented 35% of total private sales over the period says Redrow. The average selling price of private reservations in the year to date is 11% ahead of the same period last year, at £271,000.
"The total current land bank [with planning permission] both owned and contracted," says Redrow, "now stands at just over 15,000 plots. The growth in the land bank over the last two years has been helped by the changes in the planning system, brought about by the NPPF."